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Focus: passenger train safety in Southern California

For obvious reasons, the adverse repercussions stemming from a train-related crash can be outsized.

We simply note on the San Fernando Valley Railroad Accident page of our website at the Ventura County Vititoe Law Group, LLC, that "a railroad accident can be a catastrophic event."

That sad reality repeatedly plays out in train crashes and collisions across the country, whether they owe to driver/mechanical failure, mistakes made by drivers of passenger cars and trucks, the misinformed judgments of bicyclists and pedestrians or other factors.

The California community of Chatsworth readily comes to mind, with a devastating head-on collision there in 2008 involving a freight train and a Metrolink commuter train. That crash understandably garnered national attention and closest scrutiny from state and federal safety officials. Tragically, 28 people died in that accident. More than 130 other passengers were injured.

And then, of course, there was the ill-fated incident near Oxnard that occurred earlier this year. In late February, yet another Metrolink train (Metrolink provides passenger service to commuters across a wide swath of Southern California) was involved in a deadly accident.

The Oxnard crash underscored the singular dangers of crossing incidents involving passenger and commercial vehicles. A large pickup truck and trailer collided with a passing train, forcing a mass derailment. Nearly 30 passengers were injured. A train engineer died.

Reportedly, the Oxnard incident is still being investigated by agents from the National Transportation Safety Board.

As noted in a Los Angeles Times article from last week, recent precautions taken by Metrolink's board focus on material safety-enhancing changes geared toward improving commuter train safety.

Those changes are in direct response to the Oxnard train/truck crash. We will provide some details concerning them in our next blog post.

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